ToughTested Ranger Earbuds provide the extra value not found so often today. Offering good sound quality at a fair price is common enough. With the Ranger, ToughTested takes it a few steps further. There are several ear tips for the best fit, which is important for active lifestyles. In addition to that, you get a mic so you can make and take calls. Durable heavy braided cables stand up to hard use. Finally, they have certified noise reduction. And that’s what got my attention, because it makes them much more useful than similar products without this feature.
Packed in a tough plastic case that looks a bit like a small tool case, the Ranger seems aimed at industrial applications. Don’t let that fool you. Inside, there is the headset itself, and a 3.5mm extender plug. Plus two pairs of foam ear tips, two pairs “tree” ear tips, and two pairs of shark fin ear hooks. While the sizes are only small and large, they cover a broad range. Oh, there is also a handy pouch, and a manual. Flip through that for instructions on fit, and the various functions of the headset. Audio and phone controls are handled via a small module that clips to your shirt.
Once I fit them in my ears, I was surprised at the sound quality. They’re certainly as good as any other earbuds in the $40 or so price range. Fitting the Flexfoam ear tips, I headed out to mow the lawn (it was still warm out when I started this review). Much to my surprise, I could hear my music, and the mower was much quieter. Some quick research online indicated a lawn mower is about 100db. That enough to cause hearing damage in as little as 8 hours. Thanks to the ToughTested Ranger’s 26db reduction, it was actually about as loud as a typical vacuum cleaner. In other words, maybe annoying, but no longer dangerous to my hearing.
When not running noisy machines, they provide ample volume, and even phone calls sound good on them. Since I usually use my old iPod Nano, which lacks Bluetooth, the corded design is a bonus. Plus, I can use them in the office, where some computers lack Bluetooth. The controls are easy enough to figure out too.
Over the years, I have tried out all sorts of earbuds and headphones. Some of my favorites allow me play music while still hearing what’s going on around me. They’re great for bike riding, and general use. But there are times when you might want to reduce outside noise, rather than simply overpower it. Blasting music over your lawn mower or other loud ambient noise is a prescription for hearing damage and loss. That’s where the Ranger earbuds come in very handy. For those times when you need to protect your ears, they are invaluable. Sure, plugs or earmuffs will do the job. But why not have your music too?
I’ve used them regularly since the summer, and the Kevlar® housing plus thick strain reliefs have held up well. Building in that extra durability, plus the hearing protection, earns them a high rating from me. Check them out, and the rest of the line, at ToughTested.com.
I’d like to thank ToughTested for providing the Ranger earbuds for this review.